As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying

Addie Bundren Character Analysis

Addie is the wife of Anse and the mother of Darl, Jewel, Cash, Dewey Dell and Vardaman. She had an affair with the minister Whitfield, which produced Jewel. Although her death catalyzes the novel’s action, she hardly appears as a character in the novel and only narrates one section. Addie’s most salient characteristics are her coldness toward Anse, dislike of having children, and her disdain for words (and her appreciation for action), perhaps explaining why she favored her action-focused son Jewel rather than the language-oriented Darl.

Addie Bundren Quotes in As I Lay Dying

The As I Lay Dying quotes below are all either spoken by Addie Bundren or refer to Addie Bundren. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of As I Lay Dying published in 1991.
4. Jewel Quotes

“It would just be me and her on a high hill and me rolling the rocks down the hill at their faces, picking them up and throwing them down the hill, faces and teeth and all by God until she was quiet and not that goddamn adze going One lick less. One lick less and we could be quiet.”

Related Characters: Jewel (speaker), Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: The Coffin
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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8. Tull Quotes

“Her [Addie’s] mind is set on it.”

Related Characters: Anse Bundren (speaker), Addie Bundren
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

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12. Darl Quotes

“Jewel’s hat droops limp about his neck…Jewel, I say, she is dead, Jewel. Addie Bundren is dead.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Addie Bundren
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

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15. Vardaman Quotes

“It was not here. I was there, looking. I saw. I thought it was her, but it was not. It was not my mother….It was not here because it was laying right yonder in the dirt. And now it’s all chopped up. I chopped it up. It’s laying in the kitchen in the bleeding pan, waiting to be cooked and et.”

Related Characters: Vardaman Bundren (speaker), Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: Fish
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

21. Darl Quotes

“It’s not your horse that’s dead, Jewel…Jewel’s mother is a horse.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: Jewel's Horse
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

26. Anse Quotes

“I told him not to bring that horse out of respect for his dead ma, because it wouldn’t look right, him prancing along on a durn circus animal and her wanting us all to be in the wagon….”

Related Characters: Anse Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: Jewel's Horse
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.LoreLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercit

30. Dewey Dell Quotes

“I heard that my mother is dead. I wish I had time to let her die. I wish I had time to wish I had.”

Related Characters: Dewey Dell Bundren (speaker), Addie Bundren
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

34. Darl Quotes

“Jewel shouts at the horse…He is just above the top of the ford and the horse has a purchase of some sort for it surges forward, shining wetly half out of water…Cash is half turned, the reins running taut from his hand and disappearing into the water, the other hand reached back upon Addie, holding her jammed over against the high side of the wagon.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Cash Bundren, Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: Jewel's Horse
Page Number: 148-149
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

40. Addie Quotes

“So I took Anse. And when I knew that I had Cash, I knew that living was terrible and that this was the answer to it. That was when I learned that words are no good; that words don’t ever fit even what they are trying to say at.”

Related Characters: Addie Bundren (speaker), Cash Bundren, Anse Bundren
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit a

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Addie Bundren Character Timeline in As I Lay Dying

The timeline below shows where the character Addie Bundren appears in As I Lay Dying. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...sound of Cash's saw. Darl describes Cash's meticulous preparation of the coffin for their mother Addie, who is on her deathbed. Darl passes Cash without engaging with him and walks into... (full context)
2. Cora
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Cora shifts her attention to Addie, who is lying silently on her deathbed nearby. Looking at Addie's sickly face and eyes,... (full context)
4. Jewel
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...on the question of why Cash feels the need to hammer and saw loudly outside Addie's window, blatantly revealing to her that he is building her coffin right outside her deathbed-window.... (full context)
5. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...cautions the boys against leaving, fearing they will still be away at the time of Addie's death. Darl defends their choice by explaining that the errand will bring them three dollars,... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Tull comforts Jewel and Darl by pointing out that Addie has seemed more like herself recently, though Jewel is angered by Tull's interference in the... (full context)
6. Cora
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Having come to the Bundren household to take care of Addie in her last moments, Cora thinks about Darl's sweet disposition as she watches say goodbye... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Cora and Tull reflect on the Bundrens' plan to trek forty miles to bury Addie in Jefferson. Cora finds the plan preposterous, while Vernon defends it using Anse's argument—that it... (full context)
7. Dewey Dell
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...as represented in the previous chapter, though now from Dewey Dell's perspective. Darl replies that Addie is going to die before he and Jewel return from their errand. (full context)
8. Tull
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...long. Anse repeats that the family will need to set off for Jefferson immediately following Addie's death as "Her mind is set on it." (full context)
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...in his hand, proudly telling Anse and Tull that he plans to show it to Addie. Anse does not praise Vardaman for his catch, and instead orders him to clean the... (full context)
10. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
On their errand, Darl provokes Jewel by telling him that Addie is going to die. Jewel does not answer, and Darl pessimistically thinks to himself, "It... (full context)
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Darl then recalls the moment when he accused Dewey Dell of wanting Addie to die just so she can get to town. In asking Dewey Dell this question,... (full context)
11. Peabody
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...the hill. When Peabody finally gets to the house, he notices Dewey Dell standing by Addie's bed, fanning her mother who appears dead except for vague movement in her eyes, which... (full context)
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Outside Addie's room, Peabody directly confronts Anse about why he did not send for a doctor sooner... (full context)
12. Darl
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...on their errand for Tull, Darl is somehow able to describe what is happening in Addie's room back at the Bundren home. Addie continues to call for Cash, though Dewey Dell... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...brother. Then Darl's descriptions refocus again on the Bundren home, where Cash has just entered Addie's room, filled with the rest of the Bundren family members. Anse tells Cash to hurry... (full context)
15. Vardaman
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
After Cash finishes Addie's coffin, Vardaman is disturbed that she will be nailed up in it. Dewey Dell comforts... (full context)
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...that Anse walks around—and then corrects himself, "His shadow walks around." He then looks at Addie, about to be nailed in the coffin and claims "It was not my mother." He... (full context)
16. Tull
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Tull recalls the moment in which he and Cora found out that Addie Bundren had died: Cora opens the door on a stormy evening to find Peabody's loose... (full context)
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...Cora escort Vardaman back to the Bundrens' home, where Cash is still working to finish Addie's coffin. Tull helps him with the finishing touches. The men finish the coffin before dawn... (full context)
17. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Darl once again describes what is happening at the Bundren home after Addie's death, even as he is still on the road with Jewel. Cash continues to work... (full context)
18. Cash
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
In a precise numerical list, labeled 1—13, Cash explains his decisions for making Addie's coffin on the bevel (on a slant). His most notable reasons are the fact that... (full context)
20. Tull
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...nearby town of New Hope instead. Quick reminds Armstid that Anse is set on burying Addie in Jefferson. Anse opens the door, looking disheveled despite wearing his Sunday best. (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
The local minister named Whitfield comes to the house to lead Addie's funeral, but first tells the Bundrens that the local bridge has been destroyed by the... (full context)
23. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Darl describes the experience of lifting Addie's coffin with Cash, Jewel and Anse. It is revealed that the family member who had... (full context)
25. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...the related face that he is not coming with them in the wagon to bury Addie in Jefferson. It is decided that Jewel will follow the Bundren wagon from behind, though... (full context)
26. Anse
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...about Jewel's desire to bring his horse on the journey, thinking it shows disrespect for Addie. Anse cannot believe that Jewel would feel okay "prancing along on a durn circus animal"... (full context)
27. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...Tull wave at the Bundrens from his lot as they pass. Cash remarks off-hand that Addie's dead body will begin to smell in the following days, and Darl suggests that Cash... (full context)
29. Samson
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...on their road and the farmer named Quick tells them about their quest to bury Addie in Jefferson. Because of the recently sunken bridge, the men worry about the Bundrens' journey,... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
...barn. Yet even after the family leaves, Samson can still smell the putrid scent of Addie's corpse. (full context)
30. Dewey Dell
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...begins to worry to herself about how distracted she was with her own issues while Addie was on her deathbed. Between these thoughts of regret, Dewey Dell reminds herself of New... (full context)
31. Tull
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
...family looking at the submerged bridge, wondering what to do in order to cross with Addie's coffin. (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...water level decreases, but the family proceeds to make plans to drive the wagon carrying Addie's coffin across the shallow part of the river. (full context)
32. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...over the chores of feeding the mules, milking the cows, and so on. All along, Addie would rationalize enforce the other siblings to take over Jewel's share of chores so Anse... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Addie is devastated that Jewel has kept this part of his life a secret, but Cash... (full context)
33. Tull
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...the river, leading Anse to accuse Tull of begrudging the family their determination to get Addie to Jefferson, and repeats that he is merely fulfilling a sacred word, a promise that... (full context)
35. Vardaman
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...chase the coffin downstream, and eventually meets Darl in the water to help him rescue Addie's coffin. Darl tries to rescue it but does not succeed. Vardaman asks Darl where Addie... (full context)
39. Cora
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Cora remembers a tense conversation with Addie about faith and religion. Specifically, Cora recalls scorning Addie for her assumption that humans such... (full context)
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Cora preoccupies herself with remembering how presumptuous Addie Bundren was about notions of judgment and sin. Cora believes Addie's sin was loving Jewel... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
One day when Cora told Addie that Jewel is her sin, Addie begins to answer affirmatively, but cuts herself off. Instead,... (full context)
40. Addie
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Addie recalls her days working as a schoolteacher, miserably sneaking off at the end of each... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Addie muses on her father's old saying that the reason for living is to stay dead... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Addie then begins an affair with Whitfield, the local minister. While she finds escape in the... (full context)
41. Whitfield
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
When Whitfield hears Addie is dying, he "wrestled with Satan" and decides to go to the Bundrens' home, so... (full context)
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...when the minister reaches Tull's home, one of Tull's daughters calls out to Whitfield that Addie Bundren has died. Whitfield decides not to confess, as no one in the Bundren family... (full context)
42. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
The Bundrens strap the injured Cash on top of Addie's coffin. The family members try to talk with Cash about his health, but Cash merely... (full context)
43. Armstid
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
...offers Anse one of his mules to borrow. Anse declines the offer and says that Addie would prefer traveling with mules that were the Bundrens' own mules. (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...at Armstid's house, Darl notices the cloud of buzzards that is beginning to gather above Addie's coffin. While Anse is out with his horse, Jewel tries to make himself useful by... (full context)
44. Vardaman
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Vardaman obsessively counts the number of buzzards, traveling in black circles around Addie's coffin. Vardaman listens to Darl ask Cash how his broken leg is feeling, and Cash... (full context)
49. Vardaman
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Vardaman and Darl go out for a walk at night to hear Addie talking from inside her coffin, as Darl assures Vardaman that he can hear Addie speaking... (full context)
50. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...well as the Bundren's mules. After saving all of the animals, Jewel then single-handedly rescues Addie's coffin from the fire. Dewey Dell protectively calls after Jewel, while Darl marvels in the... (full context)
51. Vardaman
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...Darl leaves and the family asks where he is. Darl ends up lying next to Addie's coffin under the apple tree weeping. Vardaman fins Darl and comforts him by telling him... (full context)
52. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
...suggest that the family is just outside of Jefferson. Cash is lying on top of Addie's coffin with shards of cement all across his leg. Anse states that they must take... (full context)
53. Cash
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...barn and livelihood. Anse offers to take Cash to the doctor before going to bury Addie, but Cash, in turn, offers to wait. The family proceeds to a nearby home to... (full context)
58. Dewey Dell
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...of appreciation for his parenting, Anse reprimands Dewey Dell for calling him a thief over Addie's grave. (full context)